Six practical things you can do today to start working on your dreams

Do you have unfulfilled dreams? Are you not the person you hoped you’d be? Here are six practical actions you can take to start making your dreams happen.

We all have those dreams that seem to be part of the very fabric of who we are. The dreams that consciously or unconsciously drive our passions, our career choices, and what we do in our spare time.

Unfortunately though, while many of us may have big dreams and aspirations, we don’t often fulfill them.

As we get older and pursue careers and start families, it can be all too easy to push our dreams to the back of our minds. But what if you stepped off the treadmill of life for a moment? What if you revisited your younger dreams and passions?

What if you stopped telling yourself, “Don’t be silly,” “You can’t do that” and “It’ll never work,” and instead started asking, ‘Why not me?’ “Why not this?” and “Why not now?”

Six practical things you can do today to start working on your dreams

To help you stop simply fantasising about your dreams and actually find out whether they’re achievable or not, here are six practical things you can do today to start working on them.

1) Look for nuggets of time

I am assuming that many of you already have online or physical planners or diaries, so I am sure you have a pretty good idea of what you are up against each day.

If you’re anything like me, your planner is jam packed with work and parent-teacher meetings, presentations and meal prep. But, even though it may feel like your days are full, it is possible to find nuggets of time where you are free.

For instance, can you get up 30 minutes earlier to get some things done before your kids wake up? Or tell your partner that you need a Saturday afternoon once a month to work on starting your business or writing a book? Perhaps that hour you spend mindlessly scrolling through Facebook each night could be put to more productive use?

The truth I am trying to get at is we all have time, but we don’t always choose to spend it wisely. Take a close and honest look at your planner, and see where you might have an extra nugget of time you may have overlooked before.

2) Set intentional time

Now that you have mapped out some nuggets of time, you need to properly use them – and don’t let them become filled with other ‘worthy’ tasks. For example, this extra time isn’t a chance to get a head start on the ironing or catch up with a TV series. It’s also not an opportunity to finish off a late work project or call a friend.

This is YOUR time to work on exploring and realising a dream. It’s sacred time that you cannot fill with anything else but the intended task at hand.

3) Give up guilt

If there’s one thing that pretty much every mother is a world-class expert at, it’s feeling guilty. And selfishly spending time on us and our dreams is a great guilt-inducing activity. Especially if you’re ‘missing out’ on family time by pursuing your dream.

But let’s get this in perspective. You’re carving nuggets of available time out of your week to work on something important to you; you’re not emigrating across the world. And if you’re fulfilled, excited and satisfied, you’ll be a better, happier mother, partner, friend etc.

You’re also setting you children a valuable example for life. You’re showing them how important it is to pursue things that are important to you, and to make sacrifices to work for things that are important.

4) Make a game plan

If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business or resuming your studies, start researching what it takes to make that happen. Explore your options and, if you can, speak to people who are ahead of you in the journey you want to make. (You can read plenty of inspiring interviews with women who have pursued their dreams here.)

Then start making a plan. What’s your end goal? Where do you want to be in one, three or five years’ time? And what are the steps you need to take to get there?

If you genuinely want to give your dream a fighting chance of happening, you can’t just stumble along crossing your fingers it’ll work out. You need a well researched, achievable plan that’s rooted in a goal that feels authentic. And you need to follow a thorough roadmap to ensure you make consistent progress in the nuggets of time you have.

Love to start a business but don’t have a workable idea yet? Our Business Idea Kit will help you come up with an idea, and check it has all the seven pillars needed to be successful

5) Take action

Once you have a plan, or a roadmap to follow, you need to start taking action. And it’s important to be realistic. Too many people embark on a new venture with an unsustainable spurt of enthusiasm that is often unguided, only to burn out quickly. Then either give up or lose energy or enthusiasm when they don’t see instant results.

Much better to be the proverbial tortoise in the race to pursue your dream, and take the little and often approach. If you’ve worked out your goal and plan of action properly you’ll be able to set yourself achievable tasks to complete each week; tasks which build on each other to get you closer to the destination you want to reach.

Ready to take action? Find out how Kickstart guides you through your first year in business with support, exercises and our own, unique roadmap

6) Be resilient

By planning carefully you’ll increase your chances of actually reaching your goal. But there are no guarantees. And there are certainly no guarantees you’ll see results quickly.

If you really want to follow your dreams you’ll need to be resilient. You’ll need to continue working towards it when things don’t go your way. When you get bad news and knock backs. When things don’t work. Or for long periods where you’re working without seeing tangible results.

You’ll also need to plough on through periods of self-doubt, and possibly times when family and friends may question what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and whether you’re worthy or capable of success.

But the wonderful truth about being brave enough to pursue something you believe in, is that even if you don’t get to the place you hoped to be, you get somewhere. Along the way you acquire new life experiences and learnings that change you. You grow. There is no real failure here. (The real failure is having a dream and never even trying.)

Are you ready to pursue your dream?

There’s no better time to start pursuing a dream than now. Every day that passes is a day wasted; a day further way from knowing whether you really could be that person you hope to be.

So if you have a long-held dream, I challenge you to dust it off and start planning how you can pursue it. You never know, this time next year that dream could be your life!

Rachel Watson is the website manager for OurStart, a lifestyle blog for women in their 20s and 30. OurStart regularly publishes content around pregnancy, parenting, careers, and wellness. Find them on Facebook.

Photo by Tycho Atsma